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Atlantis Women Win in Madrid

irish rugby tours


Atlantis Women Win in Madrid

The Atlantis Women VII toured Spain during the last week of May, engaging in a 2-game scrimmage with the Madrid Selection on Wednesday May 28 and then winning the third leg of the Madrid Sevens Series on Saturday May 31. 

Four of the Atlantis players also got some plying time with Madrid team Arquitectura as they arrived four days early.
The team was originally scheduled to participate in the Benidorm Sevens on May 31-June 1, but - after all players had their tickets - the women's division of that tournament was cancelled due to lack of teams. Atlantis program director Emil Signes called former USA 7s player  James Gillenwater, who had previously lived in Spain, for contacts, and hefound  Álvaro Montero, coach of the Madrid All-Stars, who saved the tour. Montero rescued the Atlantis trip and fund them a tournament to play in.

The Atlantis team was:
Rhi Clark, Washington Furies
Kaelene Lundstrum, MN Amazons
Michelle Marki, Morris (NJ)
Mollie Martin, San Diego Surfers
Lauren Rhode, Washington Furies
Jess Turner, Berkeley All Blues
Eli White, Washington Furies
Jess Wooden, Atlanta Harlequins
Cynthia Wright, Washington Furies
Josie Ziluca, NOVA
Dana Creager served as Manager-Coach and Signes was Head Coach.
The official arrival date was Tuesday, May 27, but several players, taking advantage of Memorial Day Weekend, arrived on the previous Friday and Saturday. Thanks to Montero's inquiries, Arquitectura's coach Pilar Hernández arranged for four players - Mollie Martin, Eli White, Jess Wooden and Josie Ziluca - to play for their team.  Those four excelled, with perhaps the most outstanding play being Jess Wooden's run out of her own end zone for about a 108-meter try.
Wednesday's competition was more a scrimmage than a game, but in the four periods played, Atlantis outscored Madrid Selects five tries to three.
Saturday's pool matches were fairly straightforward for Atlantis as they beat Hortaleza 30-0 and Rugby Atlleti 57-0. The ease of the games might have allowed players to drift from their pattern, and certainly againt Sanse Scrum in the semis they struggled to control the game, ultimately winning 17-5.

Atlantis then faced Majadahonda in the final, which the tourists believed to be the best Spanish team in the tournament.

"They played a very disciplined keep-away style of play and did it well," said Signes. "With me having coached that style of play for years, and Dana Creager having played it, we recognized both its strengths and its weaknesses and decided to counter it with a suffocating up in the passing lanes defense."

Atlantis took a 19-0 halftime lead with two tries by Jess Wooden and one by Rhi Clark. Mollie Martin's early second-half try seemed to put the game way, but Majadahonda's defense shut Atlantis down for the rest of the game, and they added  two tries to make the score much closer.

Besides the on-the-field activities, the players got to stay in and see downtown Madrid including museums (Prado and Reina Sofia), boats in the Retiro, Madrid's equivalent of Central Park, and dine on lots of tapas.

In addition, Ignacio Davila, organizer of the Benidorm Sevens, invited the team to Benidorm for a night and to his hometown of Villajoyosa for a meal.  
The team also met with Emil Signes's cusin, Antonio Signes Signes, who owns a restaurant in the area, and toured the hometown of Signes's father, Gata de Gorgos, including a quick stop at Carrer Signes (Signes Street).
Scoring Summary:
Game Results
Pool: Atlantis 30 Hortaleza 0
Pool: Atlantis 57 Rugby Atleti 0
SF: Atlantis 17 Sanse Scrum 5
F: Atlantis 24 Majadahonda 10
Individual Scoring
Player   Tries/Conv/Pts 
Jess Wooden 6 9 48
Mollie Martin 6 0 30
Cynthia Wright 3 0 15
Josie Ziluca 3 0 15
Rhi Clark 1 0 5
Kaelene Lundstrum 1 0 5
Michelle Marki 1 0 5
Eli White 1 0 5
Total 22 9 128